RELEASED: 29th June 2018
DIRECTORS: Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead
CAST: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Callie Hernandez, Tate Ellington, Lew Temple, James Jordan, Shane Brady, Kira Powell, David Lawson Jr., Emily Montague, Peter Cilella, Vinny Curran and Glen Roberts
BOX OFFICE WORLDWIDE: $0.9m
The Endless focuses on brothers Justin and Aaron Smith, who receive a video tape from Camp Arcadia, a cult group that they belonged to when they were kids. As their recollection of events differ from then, with Justin believing they were a UFO death cult and Aaron believing them were a harmless and friendly commune, Justin fears that the talk of ‘Ascension’ in the tape may be referring to a future mass suicide. Fed up with their way of life now, Aaron convinces Justin to return to Camp Arcadia, with Aaron longing for a sense of belonging again whilst Justin looks to find answers to what is going on.
The Endless is Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s follow-up to 2104’s Spring, in which they both direct and star in the lead roles of the two brothers that return to a cult that they belong to, leading to some unexplainable patterns that lead to Justin believing that not everything is as it seems, while Aaron has that sense of belonging again with the people in the camp. The Endless is a beautifully shot, ambitious tale of cosmic horror from Benson and Moorhead, as it’s slow-burn pace adds intrigue with some questionable moments (that baseball hangs in the air for a long time below coming down as Shane shows Justin a magic trick) and the dynamic of the brothers strained relationship becomes more evident as the film progresses with Aaron growing increasingly fond of his time at the camp, particularly being with member Anna, while Justin grows increasingly impatient of Hal, who he sees as the camps leader, is answering all of his questions in metaphoric form. As complex as the tale gets, there’s enough exposition given to the audience enough to digest and understand, particularly in the second half of the film as Justin meets other people outside of the camp (‘Shitty’ Carl being one of them). The performances from the directors are really good here, with Justin acting as the older brother that speaks for the both of them in order to protect his younger brother, while Aaron has that child-like nature to him with a good heart. There’s also a scene here that connects to Benson and Moorhead’s previous film, 2012’s Resolution, even featuring the same characters, so maybe seeing that before The Endless will add a nice flavour to your beverage. With a great blend of ambitious storytelling on a micro-budget in comparison to studio films, I look forward to seeing what Benson and Moorhead bring us in the next decade.
FAVOURITE SCENE: While leaving the camp to look for Justin, Aaron comes across a tent that’ has someone caught in a six-second loop. It adds an interesting development to the story as well as make you aware of how devastating the entity can be if you let ‘it’ take you. Cosmic horror indeed.
FAVOURITE QUOTE: “Can you have power over yourself if you give up any amount of authority to something else?” – Hal
DID YOU KNOW: The filmmakers use the song “House of the Rising Sun” throughout because the lyrics are in public domain, which helped them stay within their limited budget.